Google I/O: Analysts Weigh In on Google's Day One Surprises

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-05-16 Print this article Print

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, agreed, describing this year's I/O conference as more of a "geek fest," rather than a launching point for Google projects on the scale of last year's Glass debut.

"For developers, I think it's great," said Moorhead. "For you and I, it's probably not so great, particularly when you compare it to last year. Last year it was one of the best keynotes I've ever seen in 20 years."

This year's keynote was about "the plumbing," from the APIs to updates to Google Search, Google Maps and more, said Moorhead. "That's plumbing, as opposed to a new category or a dramatically new kind of feature."

What the keynote showed was that Google is at its heart an engineering company, he said. "The real Google doesn't have people parachuting in and riding BMX bikes outside the building" like what took place at last year's keynote.

Dan Olds, principal analyst for Gabriel Consulting Group, told eWEEK that while the flash of last year's I/O opening was missing in large part, there were still some intriguing offerings announced this year, especially the new streaming music subscription product.

"I think it's a pretty big deal what they're doing in the music service," said Olds. "They're coming clearly after Apple and Spotify. In years past, this would have probably fit the bill for a big deal and a big announcement. In a very Google-like way, everything that they're talking about is sort of extending what they already have and using it to exploit new markets and surround other players."

Another notable moment at the opening day of the I/O conference, he said, was the announcement that Android has now celebrated the activation of 900 million devices, up from 400 million one year ago.

"That's a big number," said Olds. "I think that more than 100 percent growth over a year is something else that's going to put Apple on the defense. They're hitting at their biggest competition right where they live." Adding to that growth was the related announcement that Android users have so far downloaded 48 billion apps for those devices.

"I think about 7 billion of those have been installed between my wife and daughter" on their devices, Olds said with a laugh.


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